It’s been a minute since we’ve written on here. I don’t want to come back and make a ton of excuses, but Heavenly Father really inspired me to share some of the behind-the-scenes moments from the past couple of months. In hindsight, I have 20/20 vision of the things Heaven was teaching me and maybe (with any luck) the Spirit will be able to show you some things you needed to hear.
In order to have a full perspective on this, I feel it’s important to understand where I’ve been. My step into adulthood (sometimes more of a stumble than a graceful glide) shaped me into the person I am today. With this in mind, I decided to include a few life events that led me to where I am today.
Adventures and Life Lessons from Heaven
May 2016: Graduated High School
Aug 2016: I received my mission call and random inspiration to change my major.
Sep 2016-Mar 2018: Mission! (Also known as one of the most beautiful times of my life.) So much change came with the mission—both in my physical circumstances and in who I am as a person. As a general trend, I stayed with almost every companion for about 3 months. The longest I ever stayed in an area was for 6 months.
My mission was the first time a professional actually told me I have diagnosable anxiety. It was the first time I experienced the healing power of Christ’s atonement in a psychologist’s office.
Additionally, the Lord gave me so many experiences that confirmed my decision to change my major. I learned a new language, fell even more in love with So. Cal, and found out how much power I have to grow in hard situations.
Mar 2018: Came home to my awesome family! Have any other RMs felt like they had to meet their family all over again? So much change happened in my family and me during 18 months that it was interesting to try to live together again. Do we just pick up where we left off? Wait, why doesn’t the cat recognize me anymore? I really love Spinach, Healthy Cereal, and drink Lactose Free Milk—can I incorporate these things into our family’s diet/ put my groceries in your fridge?
Post-mission months: Loneliness, attempts to date, started working at some cool jobs, and struggled to find purpose again.
June 2018: Started dating this really cute guy named Jordan. We had good chemistry and I felt like I could be myself around him.
July 2018: Got engaged to that really cute guy named Jordan...
August 2018: That really cute guy named Jordan became my eternal companion when we were sealed in the temple. We moved to our first apartment in Logan and I began life as a college student. (All of this marriage stuff happened way faster than I was expecting, but I couldn’t wait!)
December 2018: Jordan and I received revelation that our children are ready to come to earth! (Yay!) Financially, it was something that would be difficult for us to manage, but we had faith that Heavenly Father would provide a way for us as we were obedient to the promptings we received.
Before this time, we’d experienced small disagreements, but we were still learning to communicate openly and honestly. Building a life with a new person required adaptability, humility, and faith. We both struggled with the reality of our new lives—lives that were becoming very different from the lives we had planned out.
Jordan had less time to pursue his photography and website design.
An error with FAFSA meant that I had to defer my dream of college for a semester.
Just after our decision to have kids, Jordan, who had previously worked two jobs, left a toxic work environment. This meant we were down to only one part-time income. Our savings and emergency fund served as a buffer, but we didn’t know how we would make it into the next month.
To make matters worse, my faith was weak. I felt condemned, unworthy, and forgotten by God. I was so ashamed to be an RM struggling with my faith that I buried my doubts deep where no one could see them. Jordan knew I was struggling, but I worked hard to not reveal how angry I was with God. He fell in love with a disciple of Christ and I didn’t feel very disciple-like.
There were definitely miracles during this time. A Christmas bonus and support from family helped us buy groceries for the month and have a nice Christmas. Despite our financial struggles, we had some left over wedding giftcards that bought a Christmas tree and some decorations. We kept paying tithing and fast offerings from our small income. God was still always there, I just wasn’t willing to fully trust Him.
January 2019: A week after New Years, my pregnancy test came back as positive.
The next day, I started a new job. Because I wasn’t in school that semester, I now had the ability to work full-time. The company also offered complete benefits that Jordan and I desperately needed.
Through divine design, Jordan’s part-time job worked out a temporary arrangement to give him more hours. Only a few days after this was decided, the opportunity to increase to full-time work opened up. Not only did this provide income to rebuild our savings, it also provided Jordan the chance to use his passion for graphic design at work.
Morning Sickness debilitated me at least once a week and my anxiety was as thick as the winter clouds above. We were doing better, but I still felt lost.
March 2019: Miracles did not mean instant faith. You know in the scriptures when prophets mourn that people receive so much from heaven, but still don’t turn to God? Hi, yeah—that was me...I know what it’s like to be that unbeliever. My resentment for my trials ran high and I directed my anger towards God.
It wouldn’t be for several more months that I’d confess to Jordan how broken and far from God I felt. With love and compassion, Jordan helped carry me through that time. Blessings were given, prayers were offered on my behalf, and he’d hold my hand as social anxiety attacked me during sacrament meeting.
Rediscovering faith kind of felt like learning how to walk all over again. I remember during one of my attempts to pray, I felt weird and kept stumbling over my words. Gently, the Spirit nudged me, teaching me that I needed to learn how to talk to God again. I hadn’t been practicing and I hadn’t been listening. It was like seeing a friend that had been trying to reach out to me, but that I had been dodging. Super awkward, right?
In his mercy, the Savior showed me that my past failure didn’t ruin our friendship. Coming back was more important than how far my heart had been from Him. My steps back to faith were small and fragile, but Christ walked with me every step of the way. Christ taught me that I wasn’t condemned for forgetting how to do these simple things and that He would teach me how to pray again.
May 2019: Months of “spiritual rehab” were paying off. I was still hit and miss on my prayers and my scripture study, but I learned to be okay with progress and not perfection. God taught me that I was still loved by Him even when I was just scraping by. I now had hope and vision that I could be better.
We found a new house that would fit our expanding family. It was in our budget and had so many things that helped me be healthier and more productive (I.e. a dishwasher, natural light, a front door instead of only being able to enter through the garage). At this point in my spiritual journey, I was sharp enough to recognize that us finding this home was a direct blessing from God. Jordan had fasted several times that our application would go through. Our credit checks came back and... we were 10 points below what the landlord required... Miraculously, she told us she felt we were meant to have this home and that she would give us a shot.
The year contract was signed and we made the house our home in May. The moving process was aided by conveniently timed visits from family and missionaries who just happened to be walking past our home when the heavy lifting was being done. Ward members helped clean and offered trucks for transport. Little tender mercies cropped up. I knew that during the two day transition between homes would mean a fridge short on food and a lack of pots and pans. Hunger deeply affected my morning sickness and so I prayed that someone would offer to bring us dinner. And guess what—in the most spontaneous and perfect ways, two ward members helped us have dinner on the two days between fully moving into our new house. I knew God was hearing my prayers, even about small tiny things like dinner.
I started school again. AP credits helped so this semester will finalize my general education requirements. The Spanish learned on my mission gave me more than half of the credits I need for a Spanish minor at a discounted price. FAFSA issues were resolved and a refund of tuition arrived as baby preparations came ever closer.
The start of my second trimester meant less morning sickness which was celestial. My OB/GYN suggested I see a counselor and I began talking anxiety medication for the first time. As strange as it sounds, I literally did not know it was possible to be so happy. I’d experienced joy before (I.e. positive mission experiences, falling in love, being sealed), but all of those also came with a suffocating edge of anxiety. With the aid of medication, every other tool I was given in my years of counseling suddenly became accessible as my brain’s neurotransmitters began to work better.
So yeah... my instagram tells a story of confidence, joy, and faith, (I’m SO happy right now!) but it also came after several years of tears, fears, and doubt. (Don’t let the filtered lifestyle fool you). Tears still happen, tears will keep happening, but I’m not going to let those potential hard times stop me from celebrating God’s blessings I have now.
And the next three months? Who knows what they will bring! Our baby boy will enter this world, another semester of school will start, job schedules will adjust yet again. Nothing about being in our 20s is constant—so much changes so fast!
I’ve sung the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” in roughly 10 different sacrament meetings this year and today I finally listened to the message the Spirit was trying to teach me. Christ is there for us in EVERY condition—whether I’m crippled in bed with my anxiety or doing really well mentally, whether we’re pinching pennies or having the windows of heaven opened and enjoying financial prosperity. Heaven will be there every step of the way.
These aren’t blessings exclusive to us, but are available to all of God’s children (sinner, unbelievers, and doubters included). Your deliverance will probably look very different from ours—Don’t let that stop you! I promise that as you keep trying to take fragile and weak steps towards Christ, deliverance will come in the way that is perfectly personalized to you.
It’s worth it.
Lydia and Jordan Anderson grew up near Salt Lake City, Utah. After serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they met, fell in love, and were married in August 2018. Now they spend their days working to build their eternity together and hope to help you on your own journey back to God.